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Survey: Number of women on Finnish company boards continues to rise

With few exceptions, the proportion of women on corporate boards in Finland has increased steadily over the years.

The Finland Chamber of Commerce has monitored the development of women's participation in boards and management teams for more than 10 years. Image: Yle / Henrietta Hassinen

The proportion of women on the boards of listed companies in Finland has risen to a record 31 percent this year, according to a survey by the Finland Chamber of Commerce.

In large, publicly traded companies, the share of women on boards increased by three percentage points to 35 percent.Women's representation in medium-sized and small listed companies increased by one percentage point to 32 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Additionally, women now make up 35 percent of the new board appointments, the survey found.

The Chamber of Commerce has monitored the development of women's participation in boards and management teams for more than ten years.

With few exceptions, the proportion of women on corporate boards has increased steadily over the years, with only three small listed companies this year having an all-male board, senior advisor at the Finland Chamber of Commerce, Ville Kajala, said.

Gender balance directive

Towards the end of this year, an EU directive on gender balance on corporate boards is expected to enter into force.

According to estimates by the Finland Chamber of Commerce, more than half of listed companies affected by the Directive already comply with its requirement for gender balance on its board of directors and any supervisory board.

In accordance with the directive, at least 40 percent of the underrepresented gender must be represented. This should be achieved by mid-2026.

Even though many Finnish companies already meet the directive's target, the quota regulation diverts attention from promoting female leadership as a whole, Kajala said.

The risk of gender quotas is that many women in management positions will move into board positions, which could lead to a reduction in the proportion of women in management, according to Kajala. Board seats may also become concentrated among the same women, he added.